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DCMs for the Boer War 2 years 2 weeks ago #70876

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DCM VR (1028 Serjt: P. S. Taylor. C.I.V.);
QSA (3) Cape Colony, Transvaal, Wittebergen (1028 Sgt. P. S. Taylor, C.I.V.)

Provenance: Sotheby’s, June 1984.

DCM London Gazette 27 September 1901
MID London Gazette 10 September 1901 - erroneously gazetted as Sergeant H.P.B. Taylor

One of only 14 Distinguished Conduct Medals awarded to the City Imperial Volunteers during the Boer War.

Percy Schall Taylor was born in 1870 and was a clerk by occupation. He joined the Honourable Artillery Company in 1894 and served as Sergeant of B Sub-division of the City Imperial Volunteers Battery in South Africa during the Boer War, commanding a gun. He was awarded the DCM, almost certainly for the action at Barkin Kop on 3 July 1900, where he and Sergeant Dixon of the CIV Battery fought their guns back to back and drove off a Boer Commando. Three guns of the 38th Battery, which the Boers had taken, were then recaptured. By turning trail to trail to defend themselves, a previously unheard of procedure, they fought an action that was probably unique in Royal Artillery history.

‘The H.A.C. guns on the left, hidden by their fold of ground, were not actually affected by the sudden raid we have described; but until the Australians returned, they were also left without a single protecting rifle, while they had at the same time to meet an emergency of their own, an attack on the left flank in support of the frontal raid. and to meet it without assistance too, for the detachment on their left, unlike the Australians, were very slow in returning. At one time, accordingly, the two guns were firing trail to trail, one at the Boers on their left, and one towards the right, over the heads of the disabled 38th. Under these difficult and perilous circumstances perfect steadiness prevailed.’ (The H.A.C. in South Africa edited by Basil Williams and Erskine Childers)

The HAC in South Africa clearly states on more than one occasion that the three sergeants of the H.A.C. with the CIV to receive the DCM, namely Sergeants Dixon, Taylor and Wood, were also all mentioned in despatches in the London Gazette 10 September 1901. While the mentions for Dixon and Wood’s are correctly gazetted, a clerical error led to P.S. Taylor’s mention being erroneously credited to H.P.B. Taylor, also of the HAC.

Taylor rejoined the Reserve Battery of the H.A.C. for Home Service in September 1914, and was commissioned Lieutenant in the HAC on 7 November 1914, and advanced Captain on 5 February 1915. He did not qualify for any Great War medals.
Dr David Biggins
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DCMs for the Boer War 2 years 1 week ago #70920

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DCM V.R. (888 Serjt: W. J. Park. CIV);
QSA (4) Cape Colony, Johannesburg, Wittebergen, Diamond Hill (888 Sgt. W. J. Park, CIV);
BWM and VM (019822 Pte. W. J. Park. A.O.C.)

Provenance: A. A. Upfill-Brown Collection, December 1991

DCM LG 27 September 1901.

One of only 14 Distinguished Conduct Medals awarded to the City Imperial Volunteers during the Boer War.

William John Park was born at St. George in the East, London on 10 December 1877. A leather cutter by occupation, he enlisted into the 1st Tower Hamlets Rifles in 1896 and served with their detachment in South Africa during the Boer War as the senior volunteer NCO - under Sergeant Stevens, Royal Artillery - in the Machine Gun Section of the Mounted Infantry, City Imperial Volunteers. For his services during the Boer War he was Mentioned in Despatches (LG 10 September 1901) and awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal.

Park later saw service in the Army Ordnance Corps during the Great War.
Dr David Biggins
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DCMs for the Boer War 2 years 1 week ago #70976

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DCM VR (3495 Pte. W. Boyd, 2nd Middlesex Regt.) with later unofficial Second Award Bar on riband;
[ IGS ];
[ QSA ];
[ KSA ];
[ 1914 Star trio ].

Provenance: Needes Collection 1911 (when sold alongside the recipient’s IGS, QSA, and KSA, and obviously before he had received a Second Award Bar); Baldwins, June 1956 (DCM only); Spink, November 1969.

DCM LG 19 April 1901
The recommendation, as recorded in General Sir Redvers Buller’s Despatch of 30 March 1900 (LG 8 February 1901), states: ‘Spion Kop. Conspicuous gallantry in constantly exposing himself, under very heavy fire, in order to obtain a better view of the enemy at whom he was firing.’

DCM Second Award Bar LG 16 September 1915:
‘For conspicuous gallantry on 14 June 1915 near Ypres. When several Officers and men of various Regiments were wounded by shell fire, this Non-Commissioned Officer, with two men, voluntarily undertook the task of rescuing them whilst the shells were falling, and eventually succeeded in bringing all into cover and then dressed the wounds. Sergeant Boyd has been twice specially promoted in the present campaign for gallantry and valuable services.’

William Boyd attested for the Middlesex Regiment and served with the 2nd Battalion on the Punjab Frontier in 1897-98, and in South Africa during the Boer War, where he was present wit hthe 2nd Battalion
‘The attack began successfully. A portion of the crest of Spion Kop was seized at 4 o’clock on the morning of 24 January by a force under General Woodgate. But a dense fog made it impossible to trace the entrenchments correctly, and when the fog rolled away the British position was found to be seriously exposed. In the face of the Boer attack, which began at 8 o’clock, it was maintained with great difficult, and an urgent request was sent for reinforcements. As it happened the 2nd Middlesex and the Imperial Light Infantry had already started. The extreme steepness of the hill made the climb difficult, and, in most places, it was necessary to ascend in single file. About midday four companies of the Middlesex had reached the summit, thrusting themselves into the firing line as they arrived, wherever their help seemed to be most needed. Without the aid of the Middlesex the hill must have been lost in disaster. That this was averted was due to the self-sacrificing valour of officers and men. It was round Aloe Knoll, at the eastern end of the crest, that the main fighting of the afternoon centred. When the retirement came at dusk the regiment had suffered heavily, with 4 officers and 38 men killed, and 4 officers and 49 men wounded.’ (The story of the Middlesex Regiment, by C L Kingsford refers).

For his gallantry at Spion Kop on 24 January 1900 Boyd was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal - one of three DCMs awarded to the Regiment for this action. He subsequently served with the 4th Battalion during the Great War on the Western Front from 11 November 1914 and received a Second Award Bar to his DCM for his gallantry at Ypres in June 1915.
Dr David Biggins
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DCMs for the Boer War 2 years 6 days ago #71049

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A curious pair renamed to S Braddock, 1st Durham LI. He is not on the DCM roll, this regimental number belongs to someone else and the DCM is a recast?

The seller does identify the renaming but gives no other information. IS Wright, Sydney, a coin and militaria dealer for over 45 years, add this proviso to all their current listing: 'Please Note: Due to military staff being currently unavailable, we are unable to answer Militaria related questions, nor can we supply extra photo or any more information than is mentioned in the description of the lot on offer. Sorry about that. If item is not as described, please return for full refund.'








Pictures courtesy of eBay
Dr David Biggins
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DCMs for the Boer War 1 year 11 months ago #71232

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The DCM group to Pte Stringer, SALH, which was featured in this thread in 2016 having sold at DNW in June 2013 for £3,600, in May 2016 for £4,300 and in May 2020 for £3,200 (hammer prices) is now available from the London Medal Co for £5,250.

This time it is additionally accompanied by a renamed DCM. LMC say:

Together with a copy of the recipient’s Distinguished Conduct Medal, EVII bust, this previously sold as an original back in 1952, having been made to deceive, it is named in an impressed style on the rim: (TRPR. F. STRINGER. S.A.L.HORSE). This copy D.C.M. is a recognised fake which was originally sold by Glendining’s in May 1952, and is described by Purves in his book ‘British Gallantry Awards’ under the section on ‘Copies and Fakes’. The previous owner of Stringer’s awards took it upon himself to put the copy with the original medals in order to take it off the market.
Dr David Biggins

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DCMs for the Boer War 1 year 11 months ago #71233

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DCM VR (2055 SERJT: H. SNAITH. RL: SUSSEX REGT.);
QSA (4) Cape Colony, Johannesburg, Diamond Hill, Wittebergen; (2055 SGT. H. SNAITH. 1ST. RL. SUSSEX REGT.);
KSA (2) (2055 CLR:-SERJT: H. SNAITH. RL: SUSSEX REGT.)

Henry Snaith was born in the parish of Allsaints, Hastings, Sussex, and having worked as a labourer, then enlisted into the British Army at Hastings on 12th October 1885, joining as a Private (No.2055) the Royal Sussex Regiment. Posted to the 1st Battalion, he was appointed to Lance Corporal on 9th September 1886, and promoted to Corporal on 27th March 1888, before being appointed to Lance Sergeant on 16th December 1889, and promoted to Sergeant on 19th December 1890, and to Colour Sergeant on 15th May 1892.

Snaith reverted to Sergeant at his own request on 1st February 1894, but was then tried by District Court Martial for embezzlement on 31st March 1896, found guilty and sentenced to be reduced to Corporal. Having re-engaged at Brighton on 7th October 1897, he was once again appointed to Lance Sergeant on 19th October 1897, and promoted to Sergeant on 19th September 1899 before being posted to the Depot on 18th October 1899.

Having so far seen home service, Snaith was then posted back to the 1st Battalion on 16th December 1899 on which date he was posted to Malta, and with the Boer War having just broken out, he then found himself posted to South Africa on 21st February 1900. The 1st Battalion disembarked at the Cape about 20th March 1900. Along with the 1st Derbyshire, 1st Cameron Highlanders, and the City Imperial Volunteers, they formed the 21st Brigade, which was created after the occupation of Bloemfontein, the brigadier being Bruce Hamilton, who at the commencement of the war was a major in the East Yorkshire Regiment, and had been in Natal as AAG in General Clery's division. The brigade was certainly most fortunate in its commander, although it was a surprise to many to see one so young get the post. That the selection was right was proved, for no man in the whole campaign did more consistently brilliant work. His record is faultless. He was equally successful as an infantry brigadier and as commander of a number of mobile columns harassing the enemy and capturing laager after laager in the Eastern Transvaal, where he was so long pitted against Louis Botha.

The 21st Brigade was ordered to join Ian Hamilton, who was to command the army of the left flank in the northern advance, and linked up with his force on 2nd May 1900.

Snaith as such then saw service on operations in the Cape Colony, and his battalion was first in action at the battle of Doornkop or Florida on 29th May, when 5 men were killed and 15 wounded. Snaith was then present at Johannesburg on 31st May 1900, and after the capture of Pretoria Ian Hamilton's Infantry Division was broken up, Smith-Dorrien's brigade being needed on the line between Kroonstad and the capital; the 21st Brigade, however, remained under the two Hamiltons, and at Diamond Hill had the most prolonged fighting they had seen. The successes of De Wet and the Free State Boers against the lines of communication had encouraged the Transvaalers to close in on the east of Pretoria, and it became necessary to drive them off.

Snaith was in action at Diamond Hill on 11th to 12th June 1900. On 11th June the position roughly was—French with two Cavalry Brigades, or what was left of them, was on the left; Pole-Carew with the Guards and Stephenson's 18th Brigade in the centre and left centre; the 21st Brigade on the right centre; and Broadwood's and Gordon's cavalry brigades on the right. The position could not be turned, and the mounted men could no more than hold their ground. Mr Churchill in his excellent account of the battle says: "Ian Hamilton directed Bruce Hamilton to advance with the 21st Brigade. This officer, bold both as a man and as a general, immediately set his battalions in motion. The enemy occupied a long scrub-covered rocky ridge below the main line of hills, and were in considerable force. Both batteries of artillery and the two 5-inch guns came into action about two o'clock. The Sussex Regiment, moving forward, established themselves on the northern end of the ridge, which was well prepared by shelling; and while the City Imperial Volunteers and some parts of the mounted Infantry, including the corps of guides, held them in front, gradually pressed them out of it by rolling up their right. There is no doubt that our infantry have profited by the lessons of this war. The widely extended lines of skirmishers moving forward, almost invisible against the brown grass of the plain, and taking advantage of every scrap of cover, presented no target to the Boer fire. And once they had gained the right of the ridge it was very difficult for the enemy to remain. Accordingly at 3.30 the Boers in twenties and thirties began to abandon their position. Before they could reach the main hill, however, they had to cross a patch of open ground, and in so doing they were exposed to a heavy rifle-fire at 1200 yards from the troops who were holding the front".

On the 12th the action was renewed, the Guards supporting the 21st brigade. The Derbyshire advanced on the right, the City Imperial Volunteers in the centre, and the Sussex on the left. Progress was slow, as the enemy's position was very strong, but the 82nd Battery, having been hauled on to the plateau where our troops were lying in extended order, by its splendid devotion maintained the ground won, beat down the Boer fire, and saved a withdrawal; but, as usual when a regiment or battery does a fine feat, the toll had to be paid. Mr Churchill says: "But the battery which had reduced the fire, by keeping the enemy's heads down, drew most of what was left on themselves. Ten horses were shot in the moment of unlimbering, and during the two hours they remained in action, in spite of the protection afforded by the guns and waggons, a quarter of the gunners were hit. Nevertheless the remainder continued to serve their pieces with machine-like precision, and displayed a composure and devotion which won them the unstinted admiration of all who saw the action". In the afternoon two other batteries and more troops were pushed to the front, and that part of the position was carried. During the night the enemy withdrew entirely. All accounts of the battle praise unstintingly the work of the 21st Brigade. Lord Roberts says: "The troops advanced under artillery fire from both flanks, as well as heavy infantry fire from the hill itself. The steadiness with which the long lines moved forward, neither faltering nor hurrying, although dust from bullets and smoke from bursting shells hung thick about them, satisfied me that nothing could withstand their assault. The position was carried at 2 pm ... Fighting continued till dusk, the Boers having rapidly taken up a fresh position near the railway".

No sooner was Diamond Hill over than Ian Hamilton, with, among other troops, the 21st Brigade, was despatched to the north-east of the Free State against the Boers there who were damaging the lines of communications. The general met with an accident near Heidelberg, breaking his collar-bone, and his place was taken by Sir A Hunter.

Snaith then found himself present in the operations at Wittebergen which lasted from 1st to 29th July 1900. About 8th July Reitz was reached, where the 21st Brigade were to remain a few days. Thereafter a series of rather complicated movements (detailed in Sir A Hunter's despatch of 4th August 1900) took place, with the object of getting possession of the doors leading into the Brandwater basin and locking the enemy in. On the 16th July the Sussex occupied Meyer's Kop, ten miles west of Bethlehem. On the 20th and 21st Bruce Hamilton had the Camerons heavily engaged at Spitz Kop, but the position was gained. On the 23rd the Sussex had a task which was found rather too heavy, but with the assistance of other troops the objective was gained next day. For some days further Bruce Hamilton had fighting, marching, and stiff hill-climbing, but the result of the operations was worthy of the loss and labour, 1300 of the enemy surrendering on the 30th to Bruce Hamilton, and a large number to other generals,— about 4000 in all.

After 31st July the doings of the brigade are not easily followed. It may be said to have been broken up, although General Bruce Hamilton had the Sussex and Camerons, along with the 2nd Bedfordshire and other troops, in a column which operated in the Kroonstad district during the autumn of 1900. Snaith was promoted to Colour Sergeant on 20th October 1900.

Twelve officers and 16 non-commissioned officers and men were mentioned in Lord Roberts' final despatch as published in the London Gazette for 10th September 1901, one of those being Sergeant Snaith, and he was subsequently awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal, the award being published in the London Gazette for 27th September 1901.

By early 1901 Colonel du Moulin was put in command of a small column, including his own battalion. During the remainder of the campaign this column operated in the Orange River Colony, chiefly to the west of the Bloemfontein railway. On 28th January 1902 the column was bivouacked behind a small kopje on the south of the Riet, near Abraham's Kraal. At 1 am the picquet holding the kopje was rushed. Colonel du Moulin as he hurried out to repel the enemy was killed, but Major Gilbert taking command, the kopje was recaptured and successfully held against a second attack. The Sussex lost, in addition to their colonel, 10 men killed and 6 wounded. Speaking of the colonel's death, Lord Kitchener used the words, "Whose loss to the army as a leader of promise I greatly deplore". At one period of the war, when mounted men were much in demand, the colonel of the Sussex got his whole battalion on horseback. Snaith is shown as having gained his Mounted Infantry Certificate, which was eventually awarded to him on 9th September 1903.

With the end of the war, Snaith was posted home with his battalion on 5th June 1902, and then back to Malta on 2nd December 1904, before being posted to Crete on 29th May 1905 as part of the international response to the Theriso revolt. Snaith was posted home again on 14th March 1906 and discharged on 11th October 1906.

With the outbreak of the Great War, Snaith was living in Ireland at Lisnagen, Rathcormic, Country Cork, and he then attested as a Private (No.T.R/10/8072) with the Royal Sussex Regiment at Fermoy on 2nd October 1914, being immediately reinstated as an Acting Colour Sergeant and posted to the 10th Reserve Battalion in that rank on 31st October 1914. The battalion was then stationed at Dover. Appointed an Acting Company Sergeant Major on joining the battalion, he was promoted to Warrant Officer 1st Class and Regimental Sergeant Major on 21st January 1915, and then having moved with the battalion to Colchester in April 1915, on it being retitled as the 23rd Training Reserve Battalion in September 1916, he continued as the Regimental Sergeant Major. He is believed to have been discharged in November 1916, and having seen home service, is not entitled to any further awards.
Dr David Biggins
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